The Pitch & Product
|ASUS IP Sharing Gateway Router with Integrated 4-port Gigabit Switch|
|Summary||First consumer router with 4 port gigabit Ethernet switch that supports Jumbo Frames|
|Pros||• Gigabit Ethernet with Jumbo Frame support
• Very fast routing speed
|Cons||• Uncompetitive routing features and user interface
• Large throughput hit for hosted server access
ASUS continues to try to innovate its way into the crowded consumer networking market. Although it's not the first company to introduce a SOHO router with a built-in 10/100/1000 switch - that would be D-Link's DGL-4300 [reviewed here] - it is the first to have that four-port switch support Jumbo Frames. Unfortunately, this spiffy little gigabit Ethernet switch comes as part of a router that's nowhere near as impressive.
The RX3141 is about the size of a typical business tome with all indicators on the front and connectors on the rear. It's not made for standing vertically on a desk, but has mounting screw slots on the bottom along with two reasonably strong magnets in case you'd like to throw it up onto the side of a file cabinet.
Figure 1 shows the router is powered by a Winbond W90N740 32-bit ARM7TDMI-based MCU. It has built-in support for two 10/100 Ethernet MACs and a USB 1.1 host controller hub with one port tranceiver.
Figure 1: RX3141 board
(click image to enlarge)
The gigabit switch comes courtesy of a Broadcom BCM5385, which is under the heatsink shown at the upper left-hand corner of Figure 1. This is the same switch used in the D-Link DGL-4300, but ASUS has chosen to enable the built-in Jumbo Frames capability, whereas D-Link did not.
TIP: Jumbo Frames are simply Ethernet frames (packets) larger than 1500 Bytes and you'll see why supporting them is desirable when I review my test results. If you'd like additional background on Jumbo Frames try this article.
The rest of the design is pretty straightforward, with a Realtek RTL8201CP 10/100 Ethernet "PHYceiver" for the 10/100 WAN port, and 2 MBytes of flash and 16 MBytes of SDRAM.